On 29 November, the Members of the ECO Section welcomed Mr Udo Bullmann and Mr José Manuel Fernandes, Members of the European Parliament and rapporteurs on the extension of the duration of the European Fund for Strategic Investments at the section meeting where the EESC opinion on the issue was discussed.
The proposal of the European Commission would extend both the duration and the scope of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI 2.0). Mr Alberto Mazzola, EESC rapporteur on the topic welcomed the proposal. He underlined the positive results of the first year of the EFSI and highlighted the success of the SME "investment window". He noted, however, that it is important to increase the involvement of private capital, to make the geographical and sectoral coverage of the Fund more balanced and to reinforce the possibility of blending EFSI with other EU funds.
Mr Fernandes, Rapporteur for the BUDG Committee on EFSI 2.0 also acknowledged the success of EFSI but underlined that the careful implementation of the regulation is as important as the design of the regulation itself. He underlined the role of the European Investment Advisory Hub and promoted its strengthening. He emphasised the importance of creating a liaison between the national and regional authorities that could support the functioning of the Hub. Mr Bullmann, Rapporteur for the ECON Committee emphasised that EFSI is an important element to address the investment gap in Europe but not a solution on its own. While he recognised the success of EFSI, he underlined the importance of having proper assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of both the implementation and the interpretation of the regulation.